Getting outshot is one thing the Brainerd Warriors boys' hockey team hopes doesn't become a habit.
In a 3-2 season-opening loss to Moorhead the Warriors were outshot 36-17.
On Saturday, in a 4-1 victory against the St. Paul Johnson Governors, the Warriors were outshot 30-26.
Penalties were the primary reason Brainerd was outshot. It took nine penalties, five in the second period, and put the Governors on the power play six times, including a 5-on-3 for a full two minutes in the third. Fortunately, Johnson converted only one of six power-play opportunities.
"That was tough," said Warriors goalie Nick Whichello, who stopped 29 shots, "but you've just got to keep plugging away and keep your head in the game."
Whichello has plugged away in the first two games, making 62 saves. He credited the Warriors' defense for helping him stop all but one shot Saturday.
"There was a lot of talking going on, and (the defense) seemed to know where each other was most of the time," Whichello said. "They helped a lot moving the puck around."
Warriors coach Ty Eigner wondered how his team could commit only one penalty against fourth-ranked Moorhead and take nine four nights later.
"Two of the penalties, Kiel Browne hit a guy from behind and Geoff Roberts in the first period, those are penalties where those guys were working hard," Eigner said. "Those are marginal. You can live with penalties like that, when a guy is working hard on the forecheck. But the other ones, stick stuff, a misconduct for talking to the ref, those kind of penalties you can't have.
"The reason you take penalties, more often than not, is you're getting outworked or outplayed. That shouldn't have been the case (Saturday)."
While Brainerd may have been outworked because of its transgressions, it made Johnson pay when the Governors went to the box. The Warriors scored twice on power plays and once short-handed but were unable to capitalize on a 5-on-3 edge for 88 seconds in the first.
"The games we've had have kind of been the same every time we've played them, and we've played them for four years now," Eigner said. "There has been a lot of special teams stuff because they're usually pretty physical games.
"What we need to take out of it is penalties we can control. The hooks, the slashes, the misconduct kind of stuff does nothing but disrupt things. That doesn't help us at all."
Gregg Day helped Brainerd to a 1-0 lead at 6:20 of the first period following a picturesque feed from Morgan Shepherd.
Brainerd's Geoff Roberts scored a power-play goal at 10:36 of the second. Pete Larson shot from the circle, the puck hit Roberts as he crashed toward the net and it trickled past Johnson goalie Jim Olson.
Special teams goals in the third secured Brainerd's first victory.
Joe Holden struck short-handed just 56 seconds into the period. Shepherd set up the score, threading a pass to Holden whose shot clanged off the pipe and into the cage.
Larson closed the scoring with a shot that Olson initially stopped. The rebound dropped into the slot, Larson retrieved it and flicked it over Olson.
St. Paul Johnson 0 1 0 -- 1
Brainerd 1 1 2 -- 4
First period -- B-Gregg Day (Morgan Shepherd, Mike Baker) 6:20
Second period -- B-Geoff Roberts (Pete Larson, Mike Solinger) ppg 10:36; StPJ-Mike Mullaney (Jordan Pearson) ppg 16:53
Third period -- B-Joe Holden (Shepherd) shg :56; B-Larson (Solinger, Zack Lundbohm) ppg 7:30
Shots on goal -- StPJ 9-10-11 -- 30; B 9-7-10--26
Goalies -- StPJ-Jim Olson (22 saves); B-Nick Whichello (29 saves)
Power-play opportunities -- StPJ 1-6; B 2-6
Overall -- B 1-1-0. Next game -- Sauk Rapids at Brainerd 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
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